People who have contact with other social groups are more likely to be committed to social justice.
However, an international study led by the University of Zurich has shown that for this to be the case, power relations and discrimination must be actively addressed and group-specific needs must be met.
In a newly published study, Tabea Hässler and Johannes Ullrich of the University of Zurich, together with 41 other researchers from 23 countries, conducted a survey with more than 11,000 individuals to better understand the relations between intergroup contact and advantaged and disadvantaged group members’ support for social change.
The results show that people are more committed to tackling inequality when they are in contact with each other across group boundaries. However, it matters how the interactions are experienced and how the injustices are perceived: If members of socially disadvantaged groups simply have pleasant, positive exchanges with people who are not themselves discriminated against, they tend to be even less committed to fighting for social justice and improving their own situation.
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